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Austin FC Overcomes Red Card for Improbable Road Win in Montréal

By Eric Goodman, June 18, 2022, 11:52pm, The Score

Austin FC pulled a French-speaking rabbit out of its hat Saturday night with a 1-0 road win against CF Montréal, despite playing a man down for the majority of the contest.

With the match still scoreless in the 44th minute and the ball 85 yards from Brad Stuver’s goal, ATX midfielder Dani Pereira laid an NFL-style hit on Montréal’s Mathieu Choinière, recklessly earning a second yellow card and reducing the Verde and Black to 10 men. But Pereira’s teammates maintained their composure in the second half, held Montréal scoreless, and created three dangerous goalscoring opportunities, converting one into the game winner.

It came on the counterattack in the 67th minute, when converted left back John Gallagher swung a curling cross behind the Montréal back line, right onto the feet of striker Maxi Urruti. The Argentine leaned back to guide the ball inside the far post, scoring against his former club.

“It says a lot about the character and the personality of the guys in that locker room to be down a man, get the goal, and hang in there,” Gallagher said.

It’s a sentiment reminiscent of Austin FC’s early season success, before a difficult month of May and a three-week international break, which included a humbling 4-1 defeat to Mexican club Pachuca in a friendly. A momentum-building win on the road – even if the Oaks made it harder on themselves than it needed to be – is just what the doctor ordered.

“Really pleased and proud of the guys. A tremendous effort,” coach Josh Wolff said afterward.

The win, coupled with an FC Dallas loss, sees Austin FC vault over its in-state rivals for the third spot in the Western Conference, behind only LAFC and Real Salt Lake. The two Texas playoff contenders square off for the first time in 2022 next Saturday, June 25, at Q2 Stadium.

Wolff will be faced with some concerns in midfield for that rivalry contest, as Pereira’s red card brings with it a suspension for that match. Earlier in the day, the club released news that another defensive midfielder, Jhojan Valencia, had undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, likely sidelining him for multiple weeks. But those are problems for another day.

“We’ll enjoy this [win] and enjoy Father’s Day, and get back to work next week,” Wolff said.

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